Food allergies occur when your body has a reaction to a certain type of food. Not all reactions to food are because of an allergy – similar symptoms may actually indicate a food intolerance or food poisoning. Foods that most often cause allergic reactions include: peanuts, other nuts, fish and shellfish (such as shrimp), soy, wheat, milk, and eggs.
- Tightness of the throat
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, and/or face
- Rapid pulse
- Hives or itchy skin
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Stomach pain
- Anaphylaxis – this is a sudden and severe reaction involving several symptoms occurring at once.
Who is at risk?
- People with a family history of food allergies
- People with other allergies
Treatment of Food Allergies
While medications can sometimes be helpful in controlling food allergies, the most important treatment is to identify the specific allergen and eliminate it from your diet. You must learn – or teach children with food allergies – what foods to avoid. In any case where you are not sure if a food is acceptable, you need to read the label or communicate with the person who prepared the food. In case of accidental exposure, food allergy sufferers should be prepared with a self-injectable medication that can be prescribed by a doctor. If medication is not on hand, seek immediate emergency medical care.
When should I see a doctor?
As food allergies can be life threatening, suspicion of a food allergy should not be taken lightly. If you are not sure, see a doctor as soon as possible. In cases of known allergies, work with your doctor to educate yourself about when to seek emergency medical care.
Treatment for food allergies is available now at Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
For more information on food allergies, see the following websites:
Managing Food Allergies in the Cafeteria – Tips for Food Service Staff
Peanut Allergy in the School Environment: Myths and Facts
The distribution of peanut allergen in the environment – Cleaning to keep kids safe
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of MtLakesMedical.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.